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The Watchman: ‘Kevin’ (Probably) Premieres at a Good Time, And Jeff Zucker Dreams of ‘Jeannie’

'Burn Notice' co-star joins ABC's 'Once Upon a Time' 10/02/2017 8:00 AM Eastern
CNN's Jeff Zucker: A 'Giants of Broadcasting' honoree
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Contributing editor Michael Malone’s weekly look at the programming scene

The series premiere of Kevin (Probably) Saves the World goes down on ABC on Tuesday (Oct. 3), and showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas say the drama has something you don’t see much of in TV series: Hopefulness. They note how TV news, amidst the hurricanes wreaking their havoc, is full of stories about people helping each other. But Kevin (Probably) Saves the World, about a self-absorbed guy who’s visited by a celestial being and learns to put others first, suggests people can pitch in outside of cataclysmic events.

“You can be helpful in people’s lives on a daily basis,” Butters said. “You don’t have to wait for a hurricane to hit.”

Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter, plays Kevin. He believes people are more inclined to act favorably when they’re being watched. “Whether or not you think that there’s a god or you think you’re possibly on some kind of candid prank TV show,” he said, “if you think someone is watching, you may act differently.”

It’s also a new season of Once Upon a Time, which is going through something of a makeover as the show shifts from Storybrooke to Seattle. It starts on ABC on Friday (Oct. 6). New to the cast is Gabrielle Anwar, who we enjoyed as Michael’s fetching explosives ace on Burn Notice. Anwar said she was drawn to Once Upon a Time because her 13-year-old daughter is obsessed with the series.

“I was called by my agent, and my daughter happened to be standing beside me,” said Anwar. “She heard the name of the show and starting saying, ‘Hook! Hook!’ over and over again.”

(Colin O’Donoghue plays Captain Hook on Once.)

Anwar’s 23-year-old daughter also has fallen for the show. “I’m sort of cornered,” Anwar said. “I may be here for the rest of my life.”

And Jeff Zucker sounds as though he’d be happy atop CNN for the rest of his life. Last week was the Giants of Broadcasting lunch, which saw the induction of Zucker, CNN president; Jeff Fager, 60 Minutes executive producer; and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, among others. Also inducted was Barbara Eden, star of I Dream of Jeannie.

Zucker used most of his speech to say CNN was unbowed by the pushback it’s gotten from the White House. The network will continue to “hold the administration’s feet to the fire,” he said.

He quipped that he showed up for the luncheon at Gotham Hall in Manhattan to see Eden. He noted how he was born in 1965, the same year I Dream of Jeannie went on the air.

“I’m not afraid to admit I spent my entire childhood dreaming of Jeannie,” Zucker said.

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